How to boost digital trade in Africa: Initiative by the World Trade Organization and World Bank

The Director-General of the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has called on the international community to support African countries in reaping the benefits of digital trade. She highlighted the need for a strong ecosystem, including connectivity, skills, logistics, and policy framework, and presented a joint WTO-World Bank note that outlines the challenges and opportunities of digital trade in Africa.

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At the launch of a joint policy note titled ‘Turning digital trade into a catalyst for African development,’ WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala emphasised the significant potential of digital trade to drive inclusive economic growth and sustainable development in Africa. She underscored the importance of a comprehensive ecosystem encompassing elements like good connectivity, skills, logistics, payments systems, and an enabling policy framework to fully harness the benefits of digital trade in the region.

To assist African countries in taking advantage of digital trade opportunities, the WTO and World Bank have presented a joint note that provides an overview of trends in digital trade in Africa, examines the challenges and opportunities, and proposes a work plan for collaboration.

The joint project aims to identify obstacles to participation in digital trade, recommend policy actions, and design interventions financed by the World Bank.

The Director-General acknowledged the initiatives of African countries in leveraging digital trade and emphasised the need to address obstacles to digital transformation. In closing, she expressed the commitment of the WTO to support members in harnessing the potential of the digital economy for economic growth and development.

The World Bank, represented by regional vice presidents, also participated in the launch and discussed national trade experiences on digital trade.